The Fire Theory: ICE (curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud)
The Fire Theory presents ICE, an exhibition, residency and collaborative project curated by Omar López-Chahoud at Open Source Gallery.
Immigration has been a cornerstone of the identity of the United States since its inception and the “American Dream” has been an often unattainable, yet inspiring dream for millions of immigrants from all over the world. Currently, racism and xenophobia limits the immigration that has made this country great, endangers immigrants and makes the path to citizenship inaccessible. I.C.E is the United States agency that is responsible for the border control, trade, immigration, deportation programs and as its name indicates, it generates a situation of freezing, a stand by between families, friends, on both sides of the border.
The Fire Theory is an El Salvador-based art collective formed by Víctor “Crack” Rodríguez, Melissa Guevara, Ernesto Bautista and Mauricio Kabistan. During ICE, Rodríguez will open Open Source Gallery as a workspace, as well as an exhibition space for the group. Guevara, Bautista and Kabistan, whose travel visas for this exhibition were denied, will remain in El Salvador, sending their work digitally to Open Source for exhibition. Over the course of ICE, the group will work together remotely, exchanging ideas, stories and artwork, to explore immigration, both in New York and El Salvador.
Rodríguez, whose performative actions examine social contradictions, will work with the community surrounding Open Source to gather stories of those who left their home countries to seek a better life. During gallery hours, Rodríguez will be in residence at Open Source, welcoming in visitors for discussion and collaboration. In El Salvador, Guevara, Bautista and Kabistan will talk with residents who did not or could not immigrate to the United States, exploring these stories through their own individual practices. While The Fire Theory has been separated by national boundaries, during ICE, they will continue to communicate, intertwining their investigations into a dialogue that will explore I.C.E., America and the American Dream.
Omar López-Chahoud has been the Artistic Director and Curator of Untitled since its founding in 2012. López-Chahoud has earned MFAs from Yale University School of Art and the Royal Academy of Art in London. As an independent curator, López-Chahoud has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions in the United States and internationally. He curated the Nicaraguan Biennial in March 2014 and has participated in curatorial panel discussions at Artists’ Space, Art in General, MoMA PS1, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. He is currently a member of the Bronx Museum Acquisitions Committee.
The Fire Theory has curated and collaborated for exhibitions in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Switzerland, the United States and Norway. The Fire Theory has been published in Contemporary Languages from Central America by Luisa Fuentes Guaza and has participated in the X Biennial of Central America (2016), LAIC Latin American Arts for Inclusive Cities project (2016) and RE:CONSTRUCCIÓN (2017), a transnational project that explores the impact of the Salvadoran Civil War among many others.